Texas Solar Power Association launched

As the clamor for affordable electric power in the U.S: reaches oil-wealthy Texas, a consortium of energy firms and solar companies have launched the Texas Solar Power Association (TSPA), with the intention being to promote state solar business interests.

The TSPA’s founding board members have been drawn from First Solar, SunPower Corporation, Recurrent Energy and E.ON, and its mission is simple: advance the development of solar electric generation in Texas.

Founding members of the TSPA include representatives from solar manufacturers, EPC service providers, residential and commercial rooftop integrators and large-scale power plant developers with business interests in the state.

"Solar now offers unprecedented affordability using proven, market-ready technologies," said TSPA executive director Charlie Hemmeline. "Developing our state’s abundant solar resource will diversify our electricity supply base, increase economic development, reduce water use and provide long-term price stability for Texas. It just makes sense."

Pat Wood III, the former chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, called solar one of the most exciting generation sources on market, and stressed that Texas – with its size and wealth – ought to play a bigger part in the sector’s growth. "The most important thing Texas can do is support continued market innovation and eliminate barriers to entry for solar power," Wood said.

Josh Grubaugh, TSPA president, added that Texas’ failure to properly capture the state’s high levels of solar irradiance in adequate volumes so far was a missed opportunity, and called on the state to put the hot Texas sun to work. "Peak solar generation is correlated with peak energy demand in Texas, making it an ideal choice to cost-effectively meet our energy needs," he said.

Texas currently languishes way down in the U.S. solar charts by state, relative to its size and solar potential. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranks it as the 13th-largest solar producing state by volume installed, with a combined capacity of 213 MW. However, the state was the eighth-fastest growing state in 2013, adding 75 MW, and is on course to beat that target this year.

The SEIA calculates that there is enough solar potential within Texas to power the world twice over every year – a fact the state’s 290 solar companies, and the TSPA, are likely to be reciting regularly over the coming years as Texas takes more positive steps towards a solar future.